Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Blessings on the road ahead --Carolyn R. Wilker
Our neighbours across the street have sold their home and will be moving away. Seniors in their 80s, they've gone to Florida for winters for many years. We have come to know them over time as we talk about gardening and other matters of concern to both of us. Today we will celebrate with them as they prepare for a new step.
My husband and I grew up in a rural community and were used to knowing our neighbours, even when they lived a half mile away. Neighbours might work together in threshing groups and share a combine or they may help out someone struggling to get crops in when circumstances prevent that owner from getting it done, whether illness or accident in the family. The community becomes like an extended family, such as in 1979, the year my parents’ community banded together to help those who endured losses after a devastating tornado.
When we moved to the city, on account of my husband’s job, we soon learned that city people operate a little differently. While they live closer together, residents do not necessarily mix. We found, though, that where there were children, families tend to talk a little more and watch out for another child. And the time our car got stuck on a snow-clogged street one of our first winters on this street, residents came out of their homes to help dig out our car. I was most grateful.
We met two neighbours the first few days we moved to our current home, one when our daughter borrowed a can opener so my mother and aunt could make lunch for the moving crew. The second, on the day after our move, when our next-door neighbour came to welcome us and introduced himself. We would have to wait until Easter when our snowbird neighbours from across the street came home from Florida. Eventually, I crossed the street and said hello.
When we built our workshop, the gentleman across the street would come over from time to time to see how things were going. And thus relationships began to build.
Then as our grandchildren came along, his wife began bringing back small surprises from their trip for our small ones, and I would take the children over to see her sometimes.
In times past, before Internet connections and cell phones make long distance communication possible, when a family was moving away, their neighbours might never see them again. Someone might say, “God go with you,” on what could be a perilous journey across the ocean, to a far-off land.
So too, today, in spite of advances in travel, we do not know what tomorrow will bring. We, too, send off our visitors from our door with a handshake or hug, wishing our guests a safe journey.
And so this afternoon, I will host a gathering in honour of our neighbours who are moving. We will have tea, lemonade and some treats along with time for socializing with one another. We may not say good-bye forever, necessarily, but we will mark this change in their lives. Thus I share my thoughts through an Irish blessing, the tune in my head as I write. It offers peace and well-being and the message, “God go with you.”
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
If you'd like to hear the melody, go here.
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